Last year, inspired by Jamie’s End of the Year Book Survey (and my inability to come up with answers for several of the questions), I decided to give it my own spin and create the Cheapy Awards! And now they’re back… with several new award categories, for extra… Cheapiness?
A quick note on eligibility: these awards are all about books I read in 2014. With the exception of the “2014 Debut” category, the year the book was published doesn’t matter. Also, with the exception of the “Re-Read” category, I’m only looking at books I read for the first time this year. And each book can only win one category.
Without further ado… I give you…
Best 2014 Debut:
The Martian, by Andy Weir
Okay, so it was self-published before being picked up by Crown in 2014, but I say it counts… if only because I read just a couple other debuts this year and none came close to this one.
Best Book From An Author I’d Read Previously:
11/22/63, by Stephen King
Hands down, King just blew me away with this one. I really wasn’t expecting it to captivate me the way it did.
Best Book From A New-To-Me Author:
Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes
This was an intensely real book. I was introduced to some great authors this year, but Haynes is high on the list.
Bloodline, by James Rollins
I had a few contenders for this spot – go figure, most of my re-reads are books I’ve really enjoyed – but I just love this one. It’s #8 in the Sigma Force series, and it’s such a perfect payoff to everything that had been building up to that point. The series could have ended here and I would have been satisfied.
Best Book Based Solely On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
I’d heard praise for this book in a few places, but Asti was the most vocal. And while I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as she (and a lot of other people) did, it was definitely worth reading, and not something I would have picked up on my own.
Best Book That Was Out Of My Comfort Zone:
And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
Incredibly, I was completely pulled into this book. I really didn’t think it would be my kind of thing at all, and I did find it really hard to relate to any of the characters or their situations. But somehow, Hosseini sucked me in anyway.
Best Book I Almost DNF’d:
SecondWorld, by Jeremy Robinson
I got past that “should I DNF?” point pretty quickly, but the thought did cross my mind early on, and I’m very glad I stuck with it.
Best Hyped Book:
The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
This was another great book in the Cormoran Strike series. I can’t wait to see what Rowling/Galbraith has for us next.
Best Under-the-Radar Book:
The View from the Tower, by Charles Lambert
Of all the lesser-known books that I read this year, this is the one I was most impressed with. It’s a murder mystery, but it’s so much more than that.
Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2014 To Finally Read:
Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill
I read my first Joe Hill novel in 2010. How did it take me four years to pick up another? I still don’t know how it kept falling through the cracks.
Book That Was The Most Fun To Read:
Party Games, by R.L. Stine
This was by no means a great book, but it was full of nostalgia, and to me it was worth reading for that alone.
Book That Made Me Cry:
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
I didn’t love this book as much as everyone else seemed to, though I might have enjoyed it more if I weren’t constantly measuring it against such high expectations. Even so, it definitely got me teary.
Most Surprising Book:
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
I had my share of unexpected disappointments this year, but I don’t give awards to books I didn’t enjoy. This one was one of the more pleasant surprises. I’m not usually big on classics, but (after a slow start) this one definitely subverted my expectations.
Most Unputdownable Book:
The Farm, by Tom Rob Smith
I was completely engrossed in this story within a story. I read it while I was out of town attending a wedding, and even with everything else going on that weekend, it was really hard to step away from this book.
(A book that doesn’t quite win out any of the categories,
but is still deserving of recognition as a top read of the year…)
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
After some very mixed results, I’m always a bit nervous about books that involve music, so this is one that I checked out and then returned to the library a few times before finally reading it. I’m glad I finally read it, but I’m also glad I waited until I was really ready for it, because it totally paid off… and if I’d tried just powering through earlier, I might not have felt that same magic.
Which books were your favorites this year?